Your message is the absolute core of your business.
What you sell…
Why you sell it…
And why your customers should care…
These are the core products of your message.
Your message is the center of your passion, living proof that you have something of value to offer the world at large.
Until a business has a message it has no business being in business.
In other words, you need to realize your message. This means that you have a quick one-liner that sums up your message…a 30 second elevator pitch…and a well thought-out argument and summation that you can share.
If your message is confusing, poorly defined, or uninspiring – you’ve got trouble.
Here are 5 super-easy, super-quick tips for getting to the heart of your message.
Make a list:
What do you do?
What are you passionate about?
What is your company as a whole passionate about?
What are the physical (or digital) products that you actually sell?
Why do you do it?
Where do you see your business in five or ten years?
Which products or messages have gone over best with your clients in the past?
How are you best able to fill people’s needs?
Ask as many of these questions as you can, and always think of new ones.
Hint: These questions will come in handy in other parts of your business, such as deciding marketing directions, blogging, and building sales platforms.
Share your message:
Don’t make the mistake of retreating into a shell while you are trying to reach out. Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t have all the answers – after all, who does?
Take the best form of your message to date, and start sharing it. Let other people guide you, let their opinions and impressions crystalize your own vision.
Ask questions like:
Do you understand my message?
Is this interesting?
Did you have to think?
What do you think?
What emotions does my message evoke?
Are you willing to get to know me better?
Ask peers…work colleagues…internet bloggers…family and friends…customers…
This plays as a numbers game. A few answers will always differ – but you are looking for an overall picture that makes cohesive sense.
Are there are any interesting or outstanding answers that maybe you hadn’t thought of? Pay special attention to those.
What about completely opposite answers or blank stares? If your questions are coming back to you totally differently than you thought they would, or are hard for people to answer, you need to sit down and dig a little deeper.
Clarification is not about providing your own dictionary. Clarification is not about explaining the distinctive details of your business to anyone and everyone.
Clarification is really about distilling ideas down to their simplest form.
Your message should be the clearest, most concise, most easily digested, and most emotionally lasting part of your business.
Take all of your answers and look at the most common core of your answers. Does anything jump out at you or repeat over and over?
If you already have a message, use this common core as a lens.
Is your message too long winded?
Is it too vague?
Is it sharp and concise, but lacking in interest or heart?
Does it have anything in common with people’s perception of you and your business?
If you don’t have a message, use this common core as a foundation and start experimenting with combinations of words. Try rephrasing your message with each of these bases:
Check for sustainability:
No matter how wonderful your message may sound, if you can’t get behind it, then it won’t work for you.
Does your message interest you? Do you feel passionate about it? Can you spend hours a week working with it?
As the core of your business your message will promote and build each of your services and products. It will resonate in your offers, and often take center stage in your social media.
Your message will help take the burden of the heavy lifting off of your shoulders – so make sure you don’t have to carry it along.
A good message is strong, attention-grabbing, passionate, interesting, and long-lasting. You don’t want a message that will peter out like a cheap gold vein and leave you stranded in a few years.
Once you have a message that (you believe) is strong enough to weather the storm, put it to the test.
A very excellent idea is to commit to marketing and building off of your message for at least the next six months.
During those six months you need to pattern your website to reflect your message. Shout it from social media and share it with customers.
Try out different phrases. (A good trick is to look in the thesaurus. You can use the same message a dozen different times and not repeat yourself if you use word definitions, specialized phrasing, and variations.
Try and get as much input on your message as you can during those six months. Customer surveys, calls-to-action, A/B split testing will tell you a lot about whether or not your message is reaching the right customers in the right way.
Never Stop Communicating
We know it can seem daunting to come up with article after article, marketing campaign after marketing campaign based on a single core idea.
However, imagine how much harder it will be to do that same work without a solid foundation? You’ll be pushing against the tide, rather than simply waiting for it to roll in.